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Rumor Mill: Brad Penny

Perhaps trying to erase another of their off-season mistakes, the Cardinals are talking to the Red Sox about a deal for starting pitcher Brad Penny.

Penny is 5-2 despite a 5.32 ERA with Boston. But his ERA has been on a steady decline as he puts a couple of bad starts in April behind him. At the end of the first month of the season, he averaged 8.66 earned runs allowed. He's struck out 66 and walked 20 in 44 innings.

From Oklahoma, Penny grew up a Cardinals fan and probably would have been interested in the Redbirds over the offseason when they were busy not signing anyone. He inked a one-year, $5 million deal with the BoSox instead and now the Cardinals must outbid the Mets and Phillies for his services.

An interesting thing about Penny's contract is that it not only offers modest incentives start at 160 innings pitched, but $1 million for 50 games finished, which at least indicates someone is thinking about Penny making the transition from starter to closer.